Which whetstone should you choose
Widely recognised and known for their great qualities, Japanese whetstones, also referred to as waterstones, can be both natural and synthetic. These fine-grained stones can be used not only for sharpening Japanese blades, but also any other cutting tools So, there’s no need of buying a new set of knives. All you need is to purchase a whetstone.
So, what’s so amazing about whetstones? The thing is that while sharpening knives with a whetstone, the surface particles are washed away pretty fast. This allows new particles, which are sharp, to start doing their work and sharpen the blade.
The Meaning of Different Whetstone Grits
There are different types of whetstones depending on their range of grits and they are all used for different purposes.
For example, if you want to sharpen a knife with chipped edges, you’ll need less than 1000 grit. Furthermore, for repairing a dull knife you should go for 1000 to 3000 grit. And, 4000 to 8000 grit is used for refining the edge of a knife which is the finishing process. Finally, if you are sharpening a knife used for cutting meat you should choose 4000 to 6000 grits.
Which Whetstone to Choose Based on Experience?
Experience with sharpening does matter when choosing a whetstone. If you are only starting or use whetstones only occasionally, you’d better get a combination of between 1000 and 6000 grit. The combination of these two will do the work for many years.
On the other hand, if you are already familiar with sharpening and using whetstones and reasonably experienced, you should go for a finishing stone of 8000 grit. Therefore, a person needs three stones at least, in general, for different purposes: grind, sharpen, and refine.
What are the Three Basic Types of Stones?
Coarse Stones – less than 1000 grit
This stone is typically and most commonly used for damaged knives that have chips in the blade. A stone with a number less than 1000 will eliminate such chips quickly.
What’s more, these stones are also great and effective for repairing tremendously dull knives that haven’t got edges at all. However, make sure not to use coarse stones for normal sharpening because of their abrasiveness.
Medium Stones – between 1000 and 3000 grit
First and foremost, it is of great importance to know that the basic stone for sharpening is the number 1000 grit. Hence, if your knife isn’t damaged but has only lost its edge, it just needs a good sharpen with this grit. But, bear in mind that you should not use medium stones regularly because, over time, they can wear down your knife.
Having said that, if you need to use whetstones more often, go for 2000 and 3000 grit since they are less coarse. However, this doesn’t really mean that you should sharpen your knives on a daily basis, but just a bit more often, because they aren’t designed for maintaining the edge, but for sharpening.
Finishing Stones – between 4000 and 8000 grit
Any stone between 4000 and 5000 grit is considered a bridge between sharpening and finishing stones, which give you a highly refined edge. A number 5000 is probably the furthest you need to go, yet, if you want to pick the 6000, or even the 8000, then, do so.
Still, remember that when choosing a whetstone grit you should think about the purpose. So, if you need a stone for your meat knife, you’d rather stop at 4000 or 6000 grit. If you use the knife only for cutting vegetables or fruit, go as far as you like, maybe 8000 grit stone.
How to Take Care of Whetstones?
There are certain practices you should apply if you want to have a long-lasting stone. First, you shouldn’t soak 3000 or over grit stones before use. Yet, you can splash some water if that’s really necessary. Plus, bear in mind that you shouldn’t use oil or any other type of lubricants or grease, but use only water for lubricating the whetstone.Second, never return the stone into its box after use until it’s completely dry. If you don’t do so, mold will grow on the stone and affect its quality.
We truly hope that we explained everything needed about whetstone grits. Also, it is true that you need some patience to learn to use stones, yet you’ll get the skills with a little practice.